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Voluntary Simplicity and the Social Reconstruction of Law: Degrowth from the Grassroots Up

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The Voluntary Simplicity Movement can be understood broadly as a diverse social movement made up of people who are resisting high consumption lifestyles and who are seeking, in various ways, a lower consumption but higher quality of life alternative. The central argument of this paper is that the Voluntary Simplicity Movement or something like it will almost certainly need to expand, organise, radicalise and politicise, if anything resembling a degrowth society is to emerge in law through democratic processes. In a sentence, that is the 'grass-roots' or 'bottom up' theory of legal and political transformation that will be expounded and defended in this paper. The essential reasoning here is that legal, political and economic structures will never reflect a post-growth ethics of macro-economic sufficiency until a post-consumerist ethics of micro-economic sufficiency is embraced and mainstreamed at the cultural level.

Keywords: degrowth; grassroots; sufficiency; sustainable consumption; transition towns; voluntary simplicity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2022) of 2.2. 5 Year Impact Factor: 2.5.
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